The Australian Institute of Family Studies estimate 2-5% of older Australians experience elder abuse each year. However, this issue is chronically under-reported due to a lack of understanding and the inability of the victims to seek help in situations of abuse.
The issue of elder abuse will only become more prevalent as Australia’s population ages, and can manifest in a variety of ways:
- Neglect: where an older person is not having their physical, medical or emotional needs met
- Physical: being slapped, restrained and over- or under- medicated
- Psychological: being intimidated, humiliated, isolated from friends and family, treated like a child or being denied the right to make decisions
- Financial: being forced to change a Will, being unduly influenced into making contracts, having belongings sold without permission or money taken improperly through misuse of Enduring Power of Attorney
Elder abuse is most often perpetrated by someone the person trusts, such as a family member, carer or worker in a nursing home, and most importantly, is not always malicious. Elder abuse can arise through sheer lack of thought about how your actions and decisions impact the person you are caring for.
Anyone can take steps to stop an instance of elder abuse. In cases of serious financial abuse, you can also seek assistance from court or tribunal to freeze a bank account, recover stolen money or property or reverse an unfair contract.
If you suspect someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, or have any queries relating to the issues featured in this article, please do not hesitate to contact us on 02 8917 8700 or fill out the enquiry box and we will get back to you ASAP.